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Scholastic Notebook
By Rich Emert
Vally News Dispatch

There is a European flavor on the Clairton High School football team this season.

Mike Kreadle has emerged as the Bears place kicker. He is a foreign exchange student from Germany and never played football until this year.

"He's a soccer player, but he hadn't seen American football in Germany,'' Clairton coach Joe Fischer said. "We don't offer soccer at Clairton, but our athletic director Bill DaBaldo brought him up to practice one day and said we should give him a try.''

Kreadle has a strong leg and kicked a 37-yard field goal when Clairton played South Allegheny. In fact, South Allegheny coaches called a time out to try and ice Kreadle before the attempt. It didn't work because Kreadle had no idea what was going on.

"He just thought it was part of the game, so it had no effect on him,'' Fischer said. "That's the thing about having him on the team. Things we take for granted in the game are new to him.''

Fischer said Kreadle has good range and can make field goal attempts from 40 yards out. Having a player who just kicks is a rarity for the Bears.

"We've had good kickers in the past, but it has usually been someone who played another position,'' Fischer said. "The guys on the team have taken to him and he has fit right in.''

Fischer thought about using Kreadle as the Bears punter, but there was a problem. He had trouble catching the snap from center.

"You wouldn't think that would be a big deal, but it's something he never had to do before,'' Fischer said. "Having him around has been a unique experience.''

Vernillo watch: Fort Cherry running back Mike Vernillo became the third player in WPIAL history to rush for more than 6,000 yards in a career last Friday.

Vernillo, a senior who has verbally committed to West Virginia, rushed for 201 yards on 19 carries in Fort Cherry's 54-7 victory over Avella in the Ohio Valley Conference. That gives him 6,198 yards in 785 carries for his career. The only other WPIAL backs to rush for that many yards are Matt Gavrish of Penn-Trafford, who finished with 6,512 yards, and Rodney Wilson at West Greene, who finished with 6,304.

Vernillo could move into second place on the WPIAL's all-time list Friday with a big game Friday when Fort Cherry entertains Brentwood.

Young Dukes: Duquesne is 3-1 on the season and 2-0 in the Class A Eastern Conference. Get used to seeing the Dukes atop the conference standings because coach Pat Monroe has just five seniors on his roster.

Two of the impressive youngsters line up in the Dukes backfield. Tailback Todd Harris is the team's leading rusher at 5-foot-9 and 183 pounds. There's also strong fullback Nate Mosley, a 5-11, 220-pound junior, and freshman flash Wendell Brown, who is 5-9, 150.

"It's a good group,'' Monroe said. "We've got some good senior leadership and the underclassmen have come along. Because of our size, we always play some underclassmen, but the backs we have are very talented.''

Ahead of schedule: When Clair Altemus took over the football coaching job at Pine-Richland he told school board member and administrators he could turn the program around in five years. He said if he couldn't do it in that time he would step down and give somebody else a chance.

After taking their lumps the past two seasons, the Rams appear to have come of age this year. Pine-Richland knocked off Highlands 12-7 last Friday in a Class AAA Greater Allegheny Conference contest and are 3-1 overall and in the conference. That puts the Rams in second place behind undefeated Valley.

"We used to be everybody's homecoming game,'' Altemus said with a smile. "But our players worked hard in the off season to get stronger and you're seeing the results.''

Pine-Richland's lone loss was to Kittanning, 14-6, the first week of the season. The Rams were without leading rusher Steve Devennie in that game.

"Kittanning played us well, but I'd like to have another shot at them with Devinnie,'' Altemus said.

Two-time champion: Lauren George of Uniontown captured the WPIAL girls individual golf championship Wednesday at Fox Run Golf Course. It was the second consecutive title for George, a junior.

She finished toed with freshman Katie Miller of Hempfield with a one-over par 73. But on the first playoff hole, a par 5, George came up with a par, while Miller had a bogey after reaching the green in two.

The top eight finishers from the WPIAL tournament advance to the PIAA championships Oct 24-25 at Penn State University. Kelsey Harned of Freeport, a junior, was third with a round of 75. Others who qualified for the PIAA meet are: Emily Shoplick of Fox Chapel, 76; Jaime Hays of Upper St. Clair, 77; Katie Palermo of Upper St. Clair, 79; Susan Oliver of Latrobe, 80; and Kristen Obush of Indiana, 80. Allyson Cullen of Elizabeth Forward and Chelsey Pryor of Canevin are the first and second alternates.